Belfast Telegraph

I'm full of nerves as I make play for big time in Edinburgh

By Nuala McKeever

I made a big leap off a cliff this week. I decided to take my play, In The Window, to the Edinburgh festival in August. That may not sound like any big deal to you. I know it's not, in the global scheme of things. It's not going off to fight in a war or heading off into outer space or even committing to a life long relationship with another person. Those are all real biggies.

But in my world, this is way out of my "comfort zone".

To bring a play to Edinburgh will cost nearly ten thousand pounds. I know! Ten grand for a wee show?!?!? When I went 25 years ago with the Hole In the Wall Theatre Company (it was David Dunseath on Talkback who christened it a "gang") to do the Edinburgh Fringe, I think we just went and the tickets covered the cost of us going.

Now it's the big time. All gussied up with professional marketing and production and PR. Then there's venue hire and travel and accommodation. Take it from me, it's dear.

And it's ten grand more than I have. So I will have to raise this money through either fundraising, grants or sponsorship. And if you know me you'll know those are three words that strike absolute terror into my vague, not-very-organised-that-way heart.

And then there's the horror of presuming to take a piece of work from NI, the butt of the UK, and present it to all those superior south east English types and possibly have them laugh at it, but not in a "Oh that's so funny, I love your humour" way, more in a "That's the worst piece of mediocre rubbish I've ever seen" kind of way.

The irony in all this for me, is that I spend a small part of my professional life giving motivational, inspirational training workshops and talks.

They're always on the theme of trying on the whole range of behaviours and communication styles that are available to us instead of getting stuck, as we mostly do, in doing things the same way over and over and over again and saying, "Well, that's just the way I am, I don't like heavy metal and I only ever toast my bread on one side. That's just how I am."

I realise that the second I committed to the Edinburgh thing, my heart started pounding and my nerves haven't settled yet.

I am buzzed and nervous and this adrenaline will either kill me or help me shed the remaining stubborn half stone that so far has resisted all other attempts to get rid of it.

I also realise that THIS is the life I preach to others. This is the "Oh my word, I'm ALIVE!!!" feeling that I tell rows and rows of listeners, is just the greatest thing in the world!

"Go on!" I cajole them, "Try on one of your neglected personality traits! Develop that part of you that you have let slide away. Explore those areas that you've let lie dormant for years. Live a little!"

Well I'm living alright. I'm not a natural producer, I dread making calls and emails and asking for things. That's not "me". Well, d'y'know what? It is now.

And I don't know how to talk to English posh people and tell them I'm worth it. That's not what I do. Well, it is now.

And I've never felt good enough to step out this far and expose myself like this, but what the hell, I'm doing it anyway. Yeooow!

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